December 31, 2011

For Your Reading Pleasure

We change the format from time to time, but the goal is to at least one time each year to read every word of the Bible together as a family.  In 2011 we started our reading an old testament passage at breakfast, Psalms and Proverbs at lunchtime and a New Testament passage at dinner.  That took us through the Old Testament once, Psalms twice, Proverbs 12 times, and the New Testament twice.

As of Christmas, several Kindles have joined our Bible reading time, which has several advantages and disadvantages.  One being instant access to Strong's Concordance, Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary and the Matthew Henry Commentary.  There are some negatives, too.  Not the least being the absence of a good old fashioned leather and paper Bible.

When you finish a book on your Kindle a window pops up asking you to rate it.  We finished Revelation again on New Year's Eve.  Everyone rated the Bible with five stars.

After you rate a book, the Kindle gives you another window with recommendations for future reading based on your preferences.  We all got a chuckle out of this heading:  "More books by God."
Blessings for a New Year of growing closer to our wondrous creator as we commune with Him daily in the Word.

Hugs,

Kat

December 29, 2011

A Christmas of Giving

Each year, even before Thanksgiving our family starts talking and planning for one of our favorite Christmas traditions... putting aside the shopping and self indulgence that marks many holiday celebrations and instead looking to how we can reach others during the Christmas season, when many hearts are open and yet many more are hurting.   

We were so excited when our Pastor sent an email saying he was going to call this A Christmas of Giving.

When I was a little girl I remember the fellows my dad worked with would all come together to make a Christmas for a family who would otherwise have none.  This usually involved gifts and a meal.  I never knew who those faces were we wrapped packages for but I have never forgotten how my heart was blessed at the idea of helping someone else.   

Another thing I remember from when I was a young girl was the giving tree.  This would appear in the foyer of our church each year around Thanksgiving.  The tree was decorated with little tags which said boy or girl and included an age.  Sometimes, it seems, there was also a notation about what this child might need and what size or color it should be.  Church  members would choose a child and then leave the wrapped package under the tree with the tag attached so they could be distributed.  

 The joy of doing for others was far greater than that of opening presents on Christmas morning.  I wanted my children to know the blessing of giving from the heart with no other reward than knowing we had given in the name of Jesus.  So when the girls were little, we started looking for ways to do just that.  Over the years we put together gift boxes for the victims of Hurricanes and other natural disasters.  We have sent donations to the food bank.  Helped provide for Christmas dinner at a mission where our cousin lived.  One year we wrapped bedtime stories and pajamas for homeless children.  Another year it was sending boxes to an orphanage in Haiti.  While we were doing this we always made a point to pray for the unknown recipients.
 
We also tried to do something for a family or families we know personally who are in need.  It has always been a blessing to see who the Lord will lay on our hearts and how we can bless them without them finding out who was doing the giving.  

As a parent you always hope what you are doing isn't getting lost in the translation.  We were moved a number of years ago when our children came to us and said, "Who are we going to give to this year?"  Thank you dear Jesus for helping us reach their hearts!  Thank you for letting them understand this season, this life and this world is not about us.  

Do you all read Voice of the Martyrs?  Maybe if you do, you saw the issue with the lady who had been severely disfigured on the cover?  The woman's story so touched Elisabeth.   She has prayed for her many times over the last few months.  Sometimes she would come to our little girl's memory and we would drop whatever we were doing so we could pray for her.  That's why we decided to contribute to the mission work of Voice of the Martyrs this Christmas season.  

When we asked the children how we would fund it, they spent an hour tossing around ideas.   They each wanted to fund a child themselves.  They asked if we would forgo their gift and contribute money to the cause instead.  Again, I was both humbled and overjoyed at their dedication to doing something for someone other than themselves.  The older girls had babysitting money to contribute.  Samuel had saved some money from his birthday to fund a child in Africa.  Our big boys asked Pa for an advance on the Christmas gift money Pappy and Granny send each year.  It is the little moments like those that encourage me as a mother.  When their gift envelope from Granny and Pappy were opened each cheerfully handed over their money.  But there was one more special gift to come.  When Samuel opened his envelope he asked what he should do with his money.  I suggested he put it in his piggy bank.  But that wasn't good enough for him, though.  He asked if he could send it to the children in Africa.   

And the Lord blessed their giving.  Last night on the cover of the new Voice of the Martyrs what did we see?  A picture of that beautiful woman who first touched Elisabeth's heart.  Inside we found an update of her story.  

Long ago the founding pastor of our little church, who has since gone home to the Lord, decided he would not pass an offering plate.  That tradition has been held to at least as many years as we have been at this church, since 1998.  However, I have always been moved by the giving spirit of those I have the privilege of knowing as my brothers and sisters in Christ.  We were all excited the week before Christmas when our Pastor announced he would be passing the offering plate on Christmas Day to fund Bibles for a missionary we have long supported in Mexico.  

With the piggy banks and billfolds emptied for VOM it was an act of prayer and faith to see how the Lord would fund this project we all wanted to be a part of.  Christmas Eve before he tucked them in bed, Allen helped the children put their envelopes together.  They were so excited they couldn't even sleep.  Not because of what they would get on Christmas Day, but because they wanted to know how many Bibles we would be able to send.  Samuel must have asked me at least ten times during the music service on Christmas morning when he would be able to put his envelope in.  I mean he was literally bouncing up and down in his seat the whole time.  I was so grateful Pastor took up the offering before the sermon.  I don't know how he would have made it another 45 minutes or an hour.  We were blessed to hear the total was over $3000 to go to Brother Martin.  Praise God for the way He provides for the work of His people.  That was just about all the kids talked about on their way to the car and during the ride home.  When I tucked them in bed on Christmas night they all deemed that their favorite thing about Christmas.  

Dear Jesus, in this season when we celebrate the gift you gave us in that manger, and remember the salvation you gave to us on the cross, I am so blessed by the way you continue to give to us by allowing us to continue your ministry here on earth.  We are not worthy of that blessing and yet you have given us the joy of helping others to know you.  Lord, never let us forget to look for ways to help the persecuted church, those brothers and sisters who are struggling physically, financially and emotionally among us and most importantly the lost and dying world who need to hear.

Precious Savior, never let us forget who it is really all about.


December 28, 2011

Some Minds Are So Easily Amused

I was photocopying the box of grits this afternoon. And my hubby thought it was so amusing... never mind that he was supposed to be working... that he took this picture and emailed it to me with the caption, "Why is this woman copying a box of grits?"
I copy things all the time.  Now surely you girls know why!  Don't you?

December 26, 2011

The Twelve Photos of Christmas

... and a few more.  I started with the Twelve photos of Christmas.  Which is pretty good considering the hundreds we took between the 23rd and the 25th.  In  reality I could only narrow it down to 16 of our top memories from this year's celebration.  And as we've discussed before... this is my blog, after all, so I can break the rules.

400 Truffles


Gifts of Praise

Waiting for sunset so Christmas can begin

Carmella's first Christmas

A surprise guest

Dancing after dinner

New Pajamas

A practical joke

The soft glow

Did you really just drop and ice cube down my back?

All that fuss for a sweater?

Oh, and a kindle!

Loving my girl

A caroling party

Christmas looks best in sepia

It sure is a Wonderful Life!


Hoping you all had the merriest of Christmas surrounded by the warmth and love of kith and kin.  For us Christmas started in the midst of baking and wrapping when we got a surprise visit from Aunt Dawn.  It continued on with all the magic and merriment that only Christmas can bring.  Great food, great fun, great friends.

May the spirit of the season follow you through the new year until our dear old friend comes again.

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...and happy new year too! Hugs, CP

December 20, 2011

Packages

At the risk of sounding like a broken record can I say, "I hate to shop!"  And in this busy day and age, who has time to go to five stores to find what you are looking for?  Not me for sure.  If I do have extra time (who am I kidding?) I have a million better ways to spend it... like cuddling up with a few kids and a good book.  Still there are times when the whole ordeal is unavoidable.  And for that, there is Amazon Prime.

I have found their prices can compete with all the big box stores, I can shop in my pajamas, and with free two day shipping for members,  why not?  I get everything from clothes, books and batteries to coffee, wipes, diapers and syrup.  There are boxes on our doorstep a few days a week.

Yes, we are on a first name basis with our UPS man.  We have even recently had the pleasure of meeting his beautiful wife and sweet children.   I must admit, I do wonder if this soft spoken fellow is ever intimidated by all our kids charging for his truck when he comes around the corner.  And I bet he looks forward to the lighter workload in September and October when we are traveling.  It's okay, Jodie, we don't take it personally.  Especially, since you need the time to rest up before the Christmas shopping season begins.

With nine people shopping throughout the month of December, it is not uncommon to get five or more packages a day.  Which is always exciting, right boys?  The only catch is sometimes we run into a sticky situation because we don't always know which box can be opened by who without ruining a gift.

Take the other day, for example.  Seven boxes.  Now I know what I ordered for Allen and the kids.  He knows what he has ordered for me.  But no one knows what is in which box.  So we pinch and shake and try to guess which are safe to open.
We finally got this shipment down to two unidentified boxes, which I suspected were Allen's gifts.
But you never know until you just open the box.   It is a bit like trying to deactivate a time bomb.
And in the end.... it was just a gift for my girlfriend....
and the Hanukkah candles.
Oh, I know, we could change the name on the shipping label.  That would make it a lot easier.  But truth be known, I  love that super fast one-click button too much.  So all our boxes are addressed to Allen R. Wachter.  Besides, this way is just so much fun.

My witty husband did create a new shipping label.  It reads like this, "Allen R. -not for Kat- Wachter."  Except he forgot to apply it to some packages.   So we keep playing the shake-rattle-and-roll.

When we are really wanting to keep a secret, we just have it delivered to our neighbors house.  Did you get that girlies?  No sense in looking because your gifts are at an undisclosed location and guarded by attack dogs.

meet Joey and Wally

December 15, 2011

Rapunzel Party

It's late in posting but I just can't have loose ends.  The week before Elisabeth's birthday I was trying to decide what kind of cake to bake her.  So, Martha and her cohorts say, "We have an idea."  They disappeared for most of the afternoon (never mind I was trying to finish my grocery list ☺) and came back with a whole can of trouble.

The next thing I knew we were planning a Rapunzel party.  Everything stopped in our house for the next few days while they went about planning and shopping and crafting to recreate Rapunzel's market place.
And an 18 foot garland of golden hair
There was a scrumptious menu in the works
with all the foods seen in the movie
and these great little Jello boats
some delicious gourmet cheese, breads
and of course, hazelnut soup
We decided to invite a few of the children Elisabeth enjoys spending time with to join us for the evening.  

We ended up having to cancel because of wide spread sickness.  One of the great benefits of having a lot of brothers and sisters is that even when your birthday party is cancelled, you still have a nice crowd for a party.  So even though our friends couldn't make it.  And even though Samuel had spent the day in bed sick... the party went on.

Of course, Elisabeth dressed in her costume.  As did Princess Carmella.  That was no surprise.  But when I saw Elisabeth come walking up the stairs wielding a frying pan, I about dropped to the floor laughing. 
Samuel got out of bed and dressed as Flynn to join us for dinner.  He brought Rapunzel a hairbrush as a gift.  Wasn't that so clever?
The girls arranged fun activities, like making Pascal party horns.
... and coloring ....
... and you must have guessed, pin the frying pan on Flynn.  The girls also found lanterns to launch when it got dark, except it was raining and too windy so we had to abandon those plans.  We are waiting for a nice spring evening to pull them out again.
Oh, and the tower cake that started the whole affair.  Isn't it fabulous?
The moral of the story is, watch what you ask.  And sometimes things don't go as planned, but light the candles anyway, because you never know what smile might be waiting behind that cake.

December 13, 2011

Ready Or Not Ellie's Four!

This week our little Princess turned four!  It seems yesterday, she was only Winnie's size.  But the calendar doesn't lie.  Most certainly, we started the day with pink balloons.
Samuel was so excited for her to see the bracelet and necklace he designed, that he didn't even wait for her to get out of bed before she had to open the package.
 Ellie wanted to dress up as Rapunzel for the day.  Our gift to her were these flowers I found in the Wedding section at Michael's so she could have flowers in her braids like her favorite princess.
 Samuel dressed up as Flynn.  The dragon on his shoulder is Pascal, in case you didn't know.
 Emma's nickname for Ellie is Coco Chanel, because she is so fashionable.  Emma found her a tiny bottle of Chanel No. 5.
 When we asked what she wanted to do for her birthday the Google girl said she wanted to go to Chuckee Cheese
 And Chick-fil-A
 And Target
So she could get Winnie a Rapunzel costume.  (The smallest this comes in is a 4T but that didn't deter Ellie from her mission of dressing Carmella up to match.  The kids were calling the baby Pascal after that because apparently there is a part in the movie when Rapunzel dresses Pascal up in her dress and it is huge.)
 For dinner, Elisabeth requested cheese fries.  I threw in the broccoli so the day wouldn't be completely void of nutrition.
And for dessert
 there was cake, of course...
 and pink tarts.
 What Wachter birthday would be complete without blessings and praises?  

The kids noted Elisabeth's willingness to share, cheerfulness and the way she tries to put others before herself.  We also praised her for the joy and passion she brings to life.  We are blessed by her love for her siblings and the way she desires to look out for them, especially Winnie girl.  Her honesty (she always says things just as they are) passion for life, and adoration for her Pa (may she transfer that to her Father in Heaven) bring honor to our family and home.  
Happy Birthday, Elisabeth!  Many Happy Returns of the day.